This is a standard dish appearing in many variations over the centuries. It makes a lovely side dish, especially with strongly flavoured meats. It was a symbolic dish in winter, a sign that spring would come. It later came to be served as a festival dish on Twelfth Night (5th of January).
This is the original recipe:
‘To make frumente. Tak clene whete & braye yt wel in a morter tyl the holes gon of; seethe it til it breste in water. Nym it up & lat it cole. Tak good broth & swete mylk of kyn or of almand & tempere it therwith. Nym yelkes of eyren rawe & saffroun & cast therto; salt it: lat it naught boyle after the etren ben cast therinne. Messe it forth.’
A Medieval fruit preserving method found on cookit.e2bn.org Dried apple rings were popular in the 16th century, as a way of storing fruit to last for the winter. Dried fruit could be soaked and used in puddings and sauces as needed.These keep very well and still make a nice healthy snack.
Feeling a little worse for wear after ringing in the New Year? Rolling out of bed with a banging headache and a mouth that’s dry as ash? Cringing as you scroll through Facebook and see photos of yourself dancing with a tie around your head at 2am?
Well, as you chug some water, and curse yourself for believing in your drinking and dancing prowess, here are a few hangover cures from days gone by, because people who partied like it was 1399 also needed a little help the morning after.
People have eaten a lot of soup throughout the ages, ever since they had made the first cooking pots that would withstand heat. In Tudor times, it was still the main part of an ordinary person’s diet. It was basically a vegetable soup, flavoured with herbs and thickened with oats.
Ordinary people would not have been able to afford much meat, so they would rely on this soup as their staple diet together with bread and cheese. Occasionally meat bones or fish would be added when available.
Take green peas, and boil them in a pot; And when they are broken, draw the broth a good quantity through a strainer into a pot, And sit it on the fire; and take onions and parsley, and hew them small together, And cast them thereto; And take powder of Cinnamon and pepper and cast thereto, and let boil; And take vinegar and powder of ginger, and cast thereto; And then take Saffron and salt, a little quantity, and cast thereto; And take fair pieces of pandemaine, or else of such tender bread, and cut it in fair morsels, and cast thereto; And serve it so forth.
The girl who runs Let Hem Boyle writes: Powder Fort also called powder forte, poudour fort, strong powder. Spice mixtures was very common in medieval cooking. “Forme of Cury” for example has lots of recipes that calls for powder douce or powder fort spice mixtures.
You will find lots of different versions of powder fort on internet and in books. The medieval recipes doesn’t usually tell the exact measures of the spices used in spice mixtures or what kind of spices to use. One way to look for the perfect combination of these spice mixtures is to read the recipes and collect the most suitable spices from other recipes in the same source. If you don’t have access to some of the spices, that doesn’t matter!
Mustard was much used by the Romans and later was very popular with the Anglo Saxons. It grew locally and so was cheap. It could be used to makes sauces for meat and fish as well as dressings for salads. It helped to preserve other foods as well as having healthy properties of its own.
The sauces were generally made from a mixture of ground mustard seeds, vinegar, wine and often honey, with spices or other flavourings added according to what people liked.
They could then be stored for several weeks. Mustard’s ‘hotness’ gets less after it is mixed and kept for a few days, which may account for the strength of the sauces often made – which would be much too hot for most of us today.
Four times every year in the Catholic calendar, there were “Ember Days” – consisting of a Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday – when meat was forbidden. Cheese and eggs, however, were allowed. An ‘Ember Day Tart’ therefore was a filling dish served instead of meat on these fasting days. The tarts in the recipe are a little like a sweet quiche.
The recipe uses galingale, it is well worth finding some as its aromatic taste is not easily replaced. You can use ginger as a substitute but this will give heat rather than a more rounded flavour.
The recipe was originally written down as follows:
‘Tart in embre day: take and parboile onynons; presse out the water & hewe hem smale;take brede & bray it in a mortar,and temper it up with ayren; do perto butter, safron, spice and salt and corans & a ltel sugar with powdor douce, and bake it in a trap,& serve it forth.’
Saara who runs One Year and Thousand Eggs writes: You can use the whole chicken with giblets if you desire. If you do so, chop the chicken into quarter. About 400 g chicken with the bones should be enough per person. I used legs because they are cheap and easy to get hold of.
Saara whe runs Let Hem Boyle writes: I have to say that I love mustard! All different kinds of… it can be strong, mild, vinegary, spiced.. I do like them all. Making mustard for an event has been a plan for long time, but I haven’t done it until Midwinter Feast. This recipe is great! You can make it beforehand and store it in the fridge. It will be good stored in fridge for couple of weeks.
Take mustard seeds and waishe it and drye it in an ovene, grynde it drye. Farse it thurgh a farse. Clarifie hony with wyne and vynegur and stere it wel togedrer and make it thikke ynowz. And whan thou wilt spende thereof make it tnynne with wyne.
Kim who runs ‘Turnspit & Table‘ writes: Quince Paste is the ancestor of modern marmalade, people have been preserving quinces for a very long time. The Greeks and Romans packed them tightly into honey to make melomeli or cooked it down to a paste with honey and pepper, often recommending them as treatments for complaints of the stomach.
Tak fayre porke y-broylid, & grynd it smal with yolkys of Eyroun; than take Pepir, Gyngere, & grynd it smal, & melle it with-al, & a lytel hony, & floryssche thin cofyns with-ynne & with-owte, & hele hem with thin ledys, & late hem bake, & serue forth – Original recipe